InCar Entertainment  - - NEWS -

As we ap­proached Christ­mas, at the time of pub­li­ca­tion, I con­tem­plated the year that has gone by and the state of our in­dus­try in gen­eral. Much has changed over the time since tak­ing up this post in the mid 2000s.

The in-car elec­tron­ics space has gone from the pre­dom­i­nance of the now seem­ingly prim­i­tive 1-DIN re­ceivers – with only the higher mod­els even of­fer­ing Blue­tooth hands-free op­er­abil­ity back then – to the bulk of sales con­vinc­ingly (ac­cord­ing to sev­eral in­dus­try sources) be­ing 2-DIN mul­ti­me­dia head units with ev­ery con­ceiv­able fea­ture.

Fur­ther de­vel­op­ments – and I pre­dict 2015 and up to Q2 2016 be­ing crit­i­cal – will see an ubiq­ui­tous up­take and amal­ga­ma­tion of smart­phone and head unit co-func­tion­al­ity. Ap­ple’s CarPlay and Mir­rorLink (and to a lesser ex­tent Pi­o­neer’s pro­pri­etary Ap­pRa­dio) will make fur­ther in­roads into en­try level prod­ucts and con­sumers will be ex­pect­ing, rather than sur­pris­ingly ac­cept­ing, th­ese con­verg­ing tech­nolo­gies to be in­cluded in the in-car ecosys­tem.

Tak­ing this one step fur­ther (per­haps well into 2017 and 2018) would have the almost com­plete in­te­gra­tion of smart­phone, tablet, home com­puter and in-car elec­tron­ics. Tablet-sized sys­tems are al­ready on of­fer by some of the pres­tige ve­hi­cle brands and it would only be a mat­ter of soft­ware de­sign with some dash al­ter­ations/re­designs to pro­vide ‘iPad-like’ de­vices and func­tion­al­ity with full in­ter­net ac­cess and Cloud avail­abil­ity in the car. The car as voice-com­manded of­fice and/or en­ter­tain­ment hub – al­beit with con­sid­er­a­tion for safety as­pects.

Of course this is al­ready avail­able in sim­pli­fied fash­ion – the Aud­i­son bit Play HD and oth­ers go some way to­wards this tech­no­log­i­cal goal – but the costs of both hard­ware and lim­it­ing ser­vice provider data packs are some­what pro­hib­i­tive while the me­chan­ics of op­er­a­tion and data man­age­ment are still un­der­go­ing re­fine­ments. But the prom­ise, even in the rea­son­ably short term, is ex­cit­ing.

Yes, it’s a Brave New World and we’re smack in the eye of the storm, sail­ing the sea of change while be­ing cap­ti­vated by the pos­si­bil­i­ties and won­der­ment of things to come…

Ed Kramer Ed­i­tor

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